2021 has come and gone. As the year ends, many find it valuable to engage in a reflective process. 

Sometimes a year feels like it lasts forever. Other times it feels like it hardly happened. 

These days, we leave many artifacts that represent our year: photos, social media posts, notes, emails, and more. You can trace your path through a year in a vivid way, often with the exact date, time and location. 

It helps you remember that whether the year felt short or long, our life is a series of moments strung together. Some that we’ve captured better than others. Some are more meaningful than others. Some that make us smile. Others that make us grimace. All of them help us grow. 

Below, I use what I believe are some important questions to ask to pull out the threads of 2021. 

If you’re here and reading this I am thankful that you are part of my life. 

I wish you all the best in 2022. 

What Am I Grateful For In 2021?

Having A Good Partner Makes Everything Easy

I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have met Monika. She is a beautiful, intelligent, wise, caring, hilarious, thoughtful, inspiring woman. 

Since I have met her, I have become a better version of myself in a way that has never happened before. I am happier, more grounded, more thankful, more thoughtful and in love than I thought possible.

Whether waking up next to her, dancing on weekends, meditating and practicing gratitude, attending drum circles, going for walks, buying a house, playing with Teja, I am smiling at the end of 2021 because of her.  

Animals Bring You So Much Joy

In December, my partner Monika and I were so excited to get a beautiful male cockapoo puppy named Teja.

I have wanted a dog for a long time. I always made excuses that I was too busy, financially unable or not ready. For years, I have waited to go visit my mom and sister to play with their dogs, often returning home with as much excitement to see them as my family members (sorry guys – I know you understand 😂). 

What I have realized is just how much anxiety an animal you love can help you resolve. Previously, in times where I had nothing to do, my mind would often drift to anxiety, sadness, fear, pain, anger, or other negative emotions. 

With Teja here (he is sleeping by my feet as I type this) I know at any moment I am not working I can look at him, lay on the ground with him, play, and all those feelings that I used to have will dissipate immediately.

I wish I had gotten a loving animal in my life earlier. It is a lot of work and not for everyone, but if you love animals and want to care for something that loves you back and provides you with countless laughs, I can say getting a pet is a wonderful option.  

Good Health

I started the year with a pretty intense COVID-19 infection. We have all heard about it in the news been shrouded in fear. But, getting COVID made the whole pandemic more real. 

I was surprised at how easily I got it. I visited a Walmart to get groceries. I had a mask on. I was in there for maybe 30 minutes. I didn’t touch anyone.

Yet, a few days later, my chest started to hurt. My throat felt like it had knives in it. I was down for a week and felt weak for more than a month. 

I end this year on a much different note. For that, I am grateful.

Psychedelics

2021 was a breakthrough year for psychedelics. While I am nervous about the direction the “psychedelic industry” is heading, I am grateful to see psychedelics reach a more mainstream audience, generate new scientific breakthroughs, heal people, and connect a community around the world.

In many ways, my interest and passion for psychedelics have driven professional growth. That includes cherished relationships like the team at MAPS, MINDCURE, Maya Health, Microdose, Healing Maps, the Canadian Psychedelic Association and more. Some of my best friends have emerged from our shared experiences, missions and healing journeys. 

I have built a beautiful relationship with Lucy who has guided me through the year and given me insights about myself and the world. I even had the privilege to share that with William Leonard Pickard and Peter Van der Heyden. For that, I am grateful. 

Speak Ai Office Hours

I learned so much with the team this year. Every week on Friday at 12:00 PM EST, we would join together on Zoom, record it, and share the video on YouTube. 

This routine gave our team a channel to share lessons, air frustrations, learn from each other, and build a relationship with the people who support our work. 

The Office Hours series was one of the reasons Nihal Mandanna C.P. joined our team, some customers chose us over other vendors and a way for our team to get closer and more aligned. 

Sunset Cypher Toronto

The Toronto Music & Spiritual Community

Through Rahul, who started the drum circle several years back, I was introduced to an amazing group of people. That includes the drum circle in Trinity Bellwoods Park every Sunday during the summer, the Sunset Cypher hip-hop group, Chocolate Groove on Wednesdays, HeartSound music healing events, Toronto Visionary Art Community and more.

Sometimes you connect with the right people and you feel at home. When you moved to a new place right before a pandemic and spend most of your time actually at home, this is a very welcome connection.

Daily Habits

I wrote about some daily habits I’ve implemented. 

Frankly, the reporting fell apart after my trip to Miami but many of the habits are cemented. 

Data Visualization

Since starting my work with data at my marketing firm SixFive, I have continued to understand the value of data visualization. When information is structured and visualized the right way it can generate breakthroughs for people that redefine how they think not just of business but of their personal lives. That combination in my career has given me some of the most meaningful moments. 

In 2021, I realized there are a lot of tools that enable you to capture, transcribe and store data, but there are no platforms that combine it all together with automatic language analysis and visualization.

During the year, I experimented with many different ways to analyze and visualize language information on different types of media, ranging from personal text notes, public transcripts from popular speeches, dozen of research interviews, podcasts and more. 

That experimentation led to my own breakthroughs in natural language processing, data structure, opportunities to create value and areas that are not as compelling as I thought. 

In 2022, I will continue that journey and hope to cement some of that experimental work into platform offerings that generate value, customers and revenue. One of the bigger goals is to see people sharing graphics generated in Speak on social media.

New Customers

In 2021, we gained a whole new customer base. Many of these people and teams we had never met before 2021. It means a lot when you are building something that someone sees value in. With so many products and competitors in the market, it is rewarding when you are the one selected. 

Speak Ai Milestones

Business Development

~ $52K Subscription Revenue 

~ $24K Additional Minutes Revenue & Professional Subscription Revenue

~ $29K Professional Services Revenue (Setup + Custom Dev)

~ $172 Marketing Implementation/Legacy Customers Revenue

~ $277K Total Revenue

MINDCURE Partnership

You can learn more here

first saw Kelsey Ramsden speak several years ago at a Fanshawe College event when early in my entrepreneurship journey.

She was so inspiring.

Not long after, I started to bump into her at one of my favourite places in the world, Innovation Works London, a co-working space and community dedicated to social enterprises.

A few years later at a Western University event, we were seated at a table together. With several professors and people from academia around us, we had an hour and a half-long conversation on the amazing potential of psychedelics. By the end of it, several of them had emphatically joined in on the conversation!

I left that meeting feeling more optimistic and inspired than ever.

Flash forward to this year. It is an honour to work alongside her and the growing team at MINDCURE.

We’re doing our absolute best to integrate technology into wellness in a thoughtful and compassionate way.

There was a time in my life where I thought talking about psychedelics would damage my professional career.

But, in fact, it’s been the opposite. I’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the best people I know, including Kelsey, who are passionate, innovative, and driven to make a positive change.

Grateful for the shift in the world. Grateful for this opportunity ❤

Global Affairs Dealbook

It is an honour to be included in this year’s Global Affairs Canada’s Venture Capital Dealbook!

It is a curated list of software companies by the Government of Canada to help Canadian startups secure financing by providing exposure and ultimately introductions to venture capital investors from Silicon Valley, the US East Coast, and other VC centers around the world.

Some incredible companies like Phyxable, ViewsIQ, WorkTango Inc. are also featured!

Product-Market Fit Survey

This was one of the first times we queried are 2,000+ users in a structured way. 

This process gave us some valuable insights into what people found valuable, what they did not, and what we should be prioritizing for development. 

Intercom

Our team has blabbed on about Intercom in our Office Hours videos. Before Intercom, I was using Drift. We leveraged the Intercom startup package and now use it to power our live chat, product tours, and communication with Speak users. 

Product Development

Record directly in Speak.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗼 𝗱𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸!

Create original content, instantly generate transcripts and insights, and share media in impactful ways. You can:

– Generate video for sharing and social media
– Record, transcribe and analyze podcasts
– Document with audio and video journals
– Create interactive, information-accessible media
– Communicate with team members, friends, family and more

Professional transcription. 

Improved professional transcription management, application performance and data visualization.

Google Chrome Extension. 

With a single click, import text from any web page onto your Speak account to analyze insights and sentiment instantly.

This extension provides an easy way to find and import any text from a page or entire page to analyze notes on Speak Ai application.

Real-time analysis. 

Thinking a lot about retroactive analysis versus real-time analysis.

In this video, I am using Speak Ai’s named-entity recognition to automatically identify brands, people, locations, time of day and more.

We run that analysis in real-time to trigger queries that identify GIFs and display them on the screen.

This is just a rudimentary demo with lots of work to be done. But to me, the possibilities of unlocking instant analysis are endless.

More than use cases for decision-making in meetings, work, and health, it has the opportunity to be a ridiculously fun creative tool.

We will continue to explore augmenting the content creation process to help generate completely original media in real-time.

Speaker analysis. 

Surprise, surprise. Look who talks the most 😅

Just added analysis of speakers to Speak Ai so you can see who is speaking the most or least.

This opens many possibilities of comparison and analysis too!

Quick thought: in sales, the less the salesperson talks the better.

You can use Speak to monitor your own conversations and make sure whether it’s sales or not, you’re letting the people you communicate with have the time they deserve.

I’ll keep working on that myself!

GPT-3 access.

This one we didn’t get to play around with too much yet but it was an exciting moment to get access to GPT-3, a natural language understanding platform that has definitely pushed the limits on what people think is possible with artificial intelligence.

Growing companies are leveraging GPT-3 in all kinds of ways, from producing marketing copy to creating countless variations of conversations in video games.

We hope to explore this more in 2022. 

Bulk Analysis

In the early days of Speak, we focused on being able to get individual media files into the platform for analysis. We were really excited when we could get a YouTube video in, a text note, a tweet or really anything.

As we grew and started working with more customers we realized we need to be able to ingest a lot of data. In fact, the more data, the more valuable our platform. At a certain threshold, data becomes humanly impossible to manage, analyze, and extract insights from. You need tools and technology.

So, in 2021, we found ways to enable the bulk analysis of media. That includes ingesting CSVs for audio, video and text. Creating more useful APIs. Build scrapers for Twitter, web pages, reviews and more.

With those abilities continuing to grow we are capable of significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to analyze data while producing stunning insights and visualizations. 

Growth of the embeddable recorder. 

We’ve continued to improve our embeddable recorder and have now added an upload file option!

We have customers using this system to capture, structure and analyze:

– Customer feedback
– Patient/Practitioner sessions
– Coaching sessions
– Testimonials

Our automated analysis transcribes and unlocks insights from collected recordings.

You can fully brand the capture and ask your own personalized questions to structure the data and streamline workflows.

Indie Hackers Feature.

Our team is a huge fan of Indie Hackers!

So, we were pleasantly surprised when their team reached out to us for an interview and feature.

We talked about how we got started, what our journey has been like, and our goals for the future, as well as some tips and advice for other indie hackers out there.

Great to know they thought our work was worthwhile.

Thank you Indie Hackers and Halden for all your support!! ❤

Zapier Triggers!

Zapier is an amazing company (and inspiring because of their bootstrapped journey) that connects thousands of different applications together through triggers, events and actions. 

Non-developers and developers alike can use Zapier to create all kinds of workflows and automation. We’re big believers in Zapier and so we’ve built both a Zapier receive and push function. If you want to learn more, you see our Zapier integrations.

Right now, I use Zapier to automatically transcribe and analyze Zoom and Youtube videos. But, we have customers on Speak using Zapier in creative ways we never thought of before. One is taking YouTube videos generating a transcript and adding it to a cell in AirTable. Another is taking text survey responses and pulling them into Speak for analysis through Zapier. 

Experiments

2021 was filled with experimentation. Some of that was me personally but thankfully, I can rally my team to support me on some side adventures. Special shout out to Tim who put up with abstract questions and ideas to produce several prototypes I was excited to share with the world and hope to see come fully to life one day. 

Some Of My Favourite Experiments

These videos were a joy to make and help me have moments where I realize my personal passions are aligned with what I am building in business. 

Drake’s Certified Lover Boy Analysis

Had a ton of fun using Speak Ai’s sentiment analysis and named entity recognition to analyze Drake’s most recent album Certified Lover Boy

You can see the process, opportunities, and challenges at https://certifiedloverboyanalysis.com/.

Talented New Hires

This includes the fantastic Nihal Mandanna C.P who made an immediate impact on the organic search rankings, clarity of messaging, and overall team intelligence. 

We also had support from Leon Li who guides us through product-led growth, user experience improvements, collecting customer feedback, and instilling a thoughtful nature into our team. 

Some Goals From Last Year’s OKRS

– I’d love to have a large share of our revenue coming directly from software sales.

We increased the share of revenue that is coming through software significantly, although marketing implementations still dominate revenue. 

– I’d like to have a talented full-time executive assistant.

This is also in my list for goals in 2022 so it did not quite come together. However, the team worked hard to do a ton of important work for me. 

– I’d like to pay off all personally liable loans.

While I haven’t paid these off completely, I’ve made a dent in them.

– I’d like to land a $250,000 + grant.

We landed a $120,000 grant. 

– I’d like to have $100,000 in salary by the end of the year deposited into my account.

I finished the year with a much higher salary. In 2022 I am on pace for this. 

– I’d like to have stability knowing that we have over a year of runway.

This still hasn’t quite come together. We’ve got some room here even if we don’t land another customer but it’s still nice to have more time and more reserves.

– I’d like to be able to get approved for a mortgage by the end of the year.

This happened. Yay! 

– I want to have a talented full-time marketer on the team.

This also happened. We found a great one with Nihal. 

– I want to be a profitable company.

We hit profitability several times in 2021. We ended up net positive for the year which is a great feeling – although we relied on non-dilutive grant funding and SR&ED tax credits to accomplish that. 

– I want Vatsal to have the team he wants/needs.

Still working on this. Developers are expensive. It is great to have Nivedita on our team who is steady helping Vatsal out. We were sad to lose Tim who helped contribute to a lot of important work at Speak Ai. 

What Did I Learn?

I learned about the value of accomplishing personal goals. 

Being a “CEO” is difficult

2021 was the first year I really felt that role was embraced at all. I still don’t like it and technically it doesn’t necessarily make sense when you’re a startup with only your team on the board, but alas, here I am.

When you’re a CEO and co-founder of a startup, you are responsible for many things: sales, culture, recruiting, product management, marketing, financials, fundraising and more. 

In many ways, with the dilution of my focus, I feel like I have often flailed in all areas. This is exacerbated by the fact that I still do project management and even marketing implementations to fund the business.

Fundraising

I in a way formerly announced a fundraising effort part way through 2021. While we have had many great conversations and even been offered a term sheet, we are yet to close out any investments. It feels like a failure on my part and I am not exactly sure why I have not been successful. 

There has been a ton of great feedback along the way: it’s a competitive market, there are big players with unlimited resources who want to own the speech recognition and NLP space, we haven’t tightly enough defined our ideal customer and go-to-market strategy, our revenue numbers are too low, our team is inexperienced, we don’t have official advisors, our round is taking too long to complete and on and on. 

Those all make sense. However, I feel there is something deeper here which is the uncertainty of myself. Yes, I want to see this vision come to life. But, is raising capital this way and with these people the right thing? I feel the uncertainty I have about the best path forward invades every conversation I have. 

I’ve seen friends become (at least seemingly so) wildly successful on this journey including Braden Ream from Voiceflow and Bryan Gold from Hashtag Paid, and I’ve also seen friends lose their companies, control, and happiness (those will remain unnamed).  

We’ve worked hard and have been privileged to find support from non-dilutive funding programs but that won’t always be the case. If we are to truly excel, we need to either fundraise strategically or sell the hell out of our offerings at Speak Ai.

For the latter, while we’ve seen continued adoption, it isn’t quick enough and it may not be the right customer. We’ve priced self-serve plans from $19 USD a month to $99 USD a month. Many customers graduate beyond these plans, but we’ve spent a considerable amount of time optimizing the platform for these customers. Unless we get a lot of them it is going to be hard to pay the bills for a talented and growing team. 

Recruiting

With that comes one of the hardest challenges of them all: recruiting the best people. My good friend Zamir Khan, who successfully sold VidHug after an explosion during the pandemic said that he in the early stages he thought building a company and getting revenue was the hardest part of his work. Once he figured that out he said attracting and hiring the right people was the most difficult thing he has ever done.

This is more difficult with large companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft leveraging remote work and increasingly building presences in Canada. Now, extremely well-funded startups also offer big salaries, equity and perks to attract the best people. 

These are all the challenges of being a CEO. I learned a lot about them this year. I am grateful for these lessons. I am grateful to be aware of myself and what I know and don’t know. 

Our Brand Is Strong And Weak

I have always struggled with Speak Ai as a brand and company name. In 2019, I was awarded $30,000 by the OCE Smart Start Seed Fund and because of that, I had to incorporate the company. I had several names being workshopped at the time:

Speak
Speakeasy
Maya
Speakwell
Speak Ai

Because there were companies already named Speak in Canada, I needed to add a modifier to the name. I chose AI because I knew we would leverage it and it was pretty cool and self-explanatory. It’s actually been quite helpful in many ways: it ranks well on Google, people do have an idea of what we do, and it’s fun to say.

However, I faced challenges that I realized after the fact. There was a company named Speak Ai in Europe (that is amazing and is now rebranded as Sonantic). 

Then, I found the domain speak.ai was taken. speakai.com was $150,000 CAD which I definitely didn’t have. So, I went with speakai.co. And man, has that ever been annoying.

I often get asked “no m at the end?” or “what does .co mean?”. We are often introduced in emails as speak.ai which to this day leads to nothing. People spell it:

Speak.ai
SpeakAI
SpeakAi
Speak AI
Speak Ai

I have never been that strong at branding and I truly feel the frustration of that now. Add to the confusion that we call the app “Speak” we must just leave people’s heads spinning. 

While this may seem like just an annoyance, it flows through everything. It is harder to be consistent in posts, it is harder to recruit and it is harder to sell. I don’t even know what to put on a shirt that our team can wear. Three years in, that is embarrassing and has definitely contributed to the challenges with growth, brand awareness and fundraising. 

What Am I Anxious About?

I am anxious about many things as always.

Buying A House

At the end of 2021, I bought a house with my beautiful partner Monika. We move in at the end of February. This is a huge personal milestone for me that I have wanted to accomplish forever but have struggled to do because of my entrepreneurship journey.

When we were approved and made the purchase, a huge weight came off my shoulders. Sure, I’m several years late and have missed out on massive gains in house value and got in during a time when many people consider the housing market overpriced, but I still got in and I will no longer be paying rent to landlords. 

We are extremely lucky to be approved for a 0.99% variable rate. We missed the low low fixed rates of under 2% and like the flexibility of the variable rates. However, we are also seeing reports of big increases in rates over the next few years. Are we making the right decision with the variable rate? What will our monthly payments end up being?

In addition to that, you also see all the other costs that come with closing a house purchase: land transfer tax, inspections, legal fees, renovations, furniture and more. When the house is already a pretty penny that adds up quickly.

Failing To Achieve Goals

I am currently reviewing our team’s OKRs. In so many ways, we have had a successful year. However, I still look at highlighted cells in our sheet that were not accomplished and know I am responsible for a lot of that. 

I continue to set goals that I do not hit. For example, in 2021, I wanted to make $1 million in revenue. I only made it past 1/4 of the way there. 28% has never been a success in my books. Why is that? What am I doing wrong? Are my goals too ambitious? Am I not prioritizing things right? Do I not know how to sell? Is my thought around the market size and customers wrong? 

So many variables lead to goals not being reached but when I look back at a year and see big ones like that there is anxiety. It’s not just for me: it’s for my team, it’s for possible investors, it’s for funding bodies. If you can’t accomplish what you say you are going to accomplish trust is lost. Over time, people won’t believe what you say and will stop supporting you.

What Inspired Me?

Hugging Face

Hugging Face is helping build the machine learning and natural language processing community. 

I love community-driven companies and Hugging Face is a prime example of one. They have built a GitHub-like offering called “Spaces” where you can share your NLP and machine learning projects. Anyone can view, favourite, and use these spaces to build their projects. 

Hugging Face is democratizing access to technology in a way that I don’t see other companies doing, and because of that, I am a huge fan and am deeply inspired. 

John Snow Labs

I attended the NLP Summit virtually in 2021. I had heard about John Snow Labs and their Spark NLP before, but I hadn’t dived deeply into it. For NLP-related tasks, I am most familiar with SPACY, another amazing open-source community unlocking named-entity recognition, sentiment analysis and more. 

Spotify

Beyond Spotify Wrapped I am just a big fan. But, when you combine data science with something people care deeply about like music I believe you create magic. 

There are not many companies I love as much as Spotify. They continue to inspire me every year. I know they are investing in emotional analysis including natural language processing and I am interested to follow how that is incorporated into their product to personalize people’s experiences even more.

Succession

Wow – I don’t like getting into shows but this one encapsulated me. Another latecomer but it came with power. While being genuinely entertaining, I believe there are also valuable lessons that come from the show. 

Without revealing spoilers, Logan at one point shares he doesn’t believe his first son Kendall has the “killer” instinct needed to succeed as a CEO. In many ways, I have felt that way and have cherished being a nice, positive person who doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Seeing that moment in the show made me both want to be more of a “killer” and also question if I need to be, ask myself “is this the life I want to live?”.

Xinyue 

Xinyue is the creator of Word to World which was featured on Google Experiments. Her work is incredibly inspiring to me. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with her at the end of 2021. 

Since first finding Xinyue’s work, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so closely aligned with someone’s vision to unlock the beautiful complexity and nuance of language through visualization and creation.

I highly recommend spending some time on her website to understand just how brilliant she is. 

Don’t Look Up

This was a late joiner to the 2021 inspiration. This a movie featuring Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and more. The movie not so subtly highlights the climate crisis we are in through the story of an asteroid that is going to hit the earth.

As the scientists try to warn the word, ridiculousness ensues including political pandering, capitalism and stupidity. Great watch. Hilarious. Dark. True to life.

This movie cements the importance of working on crucial problems for humanity like climate change, mental health, information reliability and better decision making. 

I had a great friend and team member with Tim Fosteman who inspired me a lot. He left Speak Ai this year earlier on a mission to contribute to climate change. Although I was extremely sad to see him go, I am grateful there are incredibly talented, intelligent and creative people like him working on something so important.

As I’ve worked on Speak Ai, I’ve flowed in and out of the feeling that I am working on something purposeful. Tim leaving challenged that notion a lot. In some cases, I have felt we are making a difference. At other times, I feel like we are just trying to survive and continue to perpetuate a system that is not necessarily good for the world. 

OpenAI (GPT-3 & DALLE)

OpenAI widely released two revolutionary technologies this year that have had a significant impact on the way people view artificial intelligence and the opportunities that technology will create. 

DALLE was especially impressive. You can take a text prompt and in seconds generate a completely original, often stunning, sometimes creepy piece of art. 

Effective Data Visualisation – with Valentina D’Efilippo

I thought this was one of the most inspiring videos in regards to data visualization. Not only does Valentina talk about best practices, she blends art, science, psychology and culture into visualizations that are stunning. 

Grammarly

Grammarly has always been one of my favourite companies. I have used them for years and like many, rely on them constantly for improving not just my writing but my thought process and self-awareness. 

Grammarly is a big inspiration for Speak. In some ways, I feel like Grammarly has everything figured out (especially in the personal, professional and business value they create) and other times I feel like they are missing out on a massive opportunity to help people improve their lives.

If everything someone types is being tracked consensually by Grammarly, they have massive insights into what we are doing, what we think, what we are excited about and what we are struggling with. 

In a way, Grammarly should be able to generate this year-end reflection I am doing automatically based on everything I typed this year. That is not their goal and many would believe that is an overreach, but I am sure if it was desired it could be done quite impressively. 

For myself, this idea of a layer sitting on top of your activities and giving insights back into yourself is inspiring and yes creepy, but something I’ve been trying to activate with Speak. I’ve done that somewhat successfully to date and will continue to in 2022. 

Grammarly recently raised a massive $200 million funding round and I am excited to see what they do next. 

Endel

Endel is a company I have had an eye on for several years now. They actually asked me to do an advocate post on them for Instagram when they were will still early where I would be featured on their profile and I still regret not taking that opportunity. 

Music has accompanied almost every part of my life and without it I feel like I would almost be nothing. 

My Favourite Products of 2021

Calendly

I cannot fathom how much time Calendly has saved me this year. 

Dux-Soup

This is a fantastic tool for LinkedIn automation. I don’t recommend using tools that can cause problems with your LinkedIn profile but I appreciate this a lot. 

SEMrush

SEMrush continues to be a dominant tool for SEO research. 

Trello

I use Trello every day for task management. 

UE Boom Speaker

The UE Boom Speaker is a constant in my life that I carry almost everywhere. It’s given me some beautiful moments at the park, on the beach, and on some epic roller blades.

Standing Desk

This was a revelation towards the end of the year. I’m completely infatuated with my standing desk and feel healthier and happier since getting it.

Logitech Webcam

In a year where almost all your calls are virtual, I’m appreciative of my Logitech Webcam that has high-quality video. It’s definitely helped me connect with people more deeply while increasing professionalism and personal branding. 

A Visual Reflection

Below are some word clouds of the most popular keywords, people brands and locations from my personal Speak Ai account. 

While this may seem out of context for you, these visualizations hold some beautiful meaning for me. I get to see the people, brands, and locations I interacted with, wrote and spoke about most. There is lots more to share here that I hope you find interesting:

Most Mentioned Keywords

Most Mentioned People

Most Mentioned Brands

Most Mentioned Locations

What Am I Excited About?

I’m still an optimist.

I am excited about generative artificial intelligence, natural language processing, data visualization, music, creativity, self-awareness, music as medicine, 

What Will I Change In 2022?

What lessons from 2021 can I bring into the new year that will change the way I operate?

I will prioritize time even more radically.

I will focus on value-creating (often connected to revenue-generating activities). Value creation does not always correlate directly with revenue but that is one of the binds of being a business owner. 

Who Would I Like To Thank?

Vatsal Shah.

Nihal Mandanna C.P.

David Freeman

Michael Miller

Mariette 

Rachel Catsero

John Pollock

Steve Inglis

So many more. I do have an almost full list in our quarterly updates. 

What Are My Goals In 2022? 

I would like to work less on unimportant tasks.

I would like to spend more time where I’m not anxious. 

I would like to make $150,000 in personal income. 

Find an executive assistant I can trust with my life.

Be more decisive. 

To connect more deeply with a community.

To make new real friends. 

What Do I Predict In 2022?

More investment in natural language processing.

A (hopeful) end to COVID-19 lockdowns. 

More generative artificial intelligence.

The decline of “hustle porn”.

More and more adoption of meat-free alternatives.

The rise of successful privacy-first companies and products. 

Continued decentralization of technology and communities. 

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This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical

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